ASTANA – Kazakhstan’s ruling Nur Otan party nominated President Nursultan Nazarbayev as its candidate for the early presidential election at the party’s congress in Astana on March 11. The incumbent accepted the nomination and is expected to mount a campaign for the election that is due in less than two months.
“We must, as a party, nominate Nursultan Nazarbayev and receive his consent. He is the only worthy candidate, and I hereby put forward his candidacy,” the prominent academician, professor Kenzhegali Sagadiyev announced at the congress.
Other party politicians addressing the congress supported the proposal. As it was put to vote, the proposal gained backing of all 1,200 congress delegates.
“I agree with your proposal of my candidacy with only one goal, [and that is] to set new complex tasks that we need to tackle,” Nazarbayev said as he accepted the nomination.
“Building on our successes, we must move forward and that is why I am addressing you here today,” he emphasised.
The early presidential election will take place in Kazakhstan on April 26. So far 14 citizens have filed their documents to the Central Election Commission seeking a nomination.
Nursultan Nazarbayev has enjoyed overwhelming popularity throughout his more than two decades in power. During the presidential election campaign in February 2011, an opinion research poll commissioned by the Washington-based International Republican Institute and conducted by independent pollster Gallup put his support in the country at 90 percent.
In the years since, the country has seen solid economic growth of 4 – 6 percent annually on average, albeit markedly slower growth rates compared to the early 2000s, before the global financial crisis hit Kazakhstan in 2007 – 2009.
The Constitution of Kazakhstan limits presidential service to two five-year terms, with an exception made for the country’s first president, Nursultan Nazarbayev.